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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)

TITLE: Don't Mix My Worlds
By Ebony Murdoch
09/22/11


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“You have 3 new friend requests,” read the notification email on Cybil’s smartphone. She pressed the red bar and scrolled through the list of names and faces.

I know Jared, so I’ll hit “confirm.” Lauren’s a lady I met at that new hair salon. I don’t know her that well, but, I don’t want to be rude…”

She hit “confirm” and sighed.

Two down, one to go.

It was from Ty, a young man in her midweek bible study. They had been staring at each other for weeks, silently communicating interest, but never venturing past “grace and peace” on the way into the building.

Yes! Took him long enough. Definitely hitting “confirm.”

Cybil was about to press the screen when she noticed a link that read, “1 mutual friend.”

That’s strange…I didn’t think we ran in the same circles.

She swallowed the bait and clicked.

Ryan.

Cybil almost choked on her dinner. The lead crystal flute tipped over and crashed onto the floor, sending sparkling cider streaming in every direction.

At first, she didn’t recognize him, but it was those eyes. She could never forget those eyes. She felt herself falling, thousands of miles downward into dark memories.

What could these two men possibly have in common? How much does he know about me? Could that be the reason for his stares? I can’t have my worlds mixing like that… O Lord, grant me wisdom.

Cybil held off on accepting Ty’s friend request. It was just too close for comfort.

***

Cybil lived a nice, neat, clean, Christian life. She arrived at work on time every morning, volunteered on weekends; never missed a Sunday. She paid tithes and sang in the choir. One thing Cybil didn’t do was “testify.” If someone asked, “What was your life like before you got saved?” Cybil would smile and say, “It was a mess. I’ll spare you the details.” And she did.


***

“Cybil, girl, you got my money?”

Ryan’s face disappeared behind puffs of smoke as he counted stacks of cash on a card table.

“Not all of it. I had to take a little bit to buy some food.”

“Not all of it?” he repeated, backing her into the corner.

“It was only $30…I’ll pay it back, I promise.”

“Only $30?” Cybil hated when he turned her statements into questions. Anyway, she could make that money back in no time. Sure, he’d be a little upset, but it wouldn’t last. After all, she was “his girl, Cybil.”

“This is the last time I’m going to tell you, don’t be dipping into my money.”

Then, without warning, POW! A fist shot across her face, forcing it sideways.

Dear God, if You’re up there, please get me out of this mess.

First chance she got, she ran for freedom and refused to look back. A “friend” gave her a one-way bus ticket from New York to the Carolinas. She curled up into a window seat and watched the power lines rise and fall between poles.

“Young lady?” said an elderly woman in the next seat. “Would you like to share some fruit with me? I’ve got plenty.”

The woman seemed so kind and loving, Cybil felt obliged to partake. And somewhere between cantaloupes and strawberries, that woman told her all about Jesus. Long before arriving in Raleigh, new life had begun.

***

Ty had attended college in New York. When he wasn’t studying, he was distributing tracts with the school’s Christian club.

“God bless you, please take one,” they offered, smiling nervously.

Folks grabbed the pamphlets, stuffed them into purses or pockets, and kept walking. Discarded copies littered the sidewalk for blocks.

A burly young man walked up and commended their efforts.

“I know I need God in my life, like, right now. These streets out here? They’re the devil. So what you got? Break it down for me.”

So Ty began to open the Word of God. Moments turned into hours. The two men got burgers at a fast food joint. By the end of the night, Ryan had bowed his head, weeping in surrender to the claims of Christ.

“Keep in touch,” Ty said, as he returned to his dorm.

“No doubt,” said Ryan, clutching his new Bible.

He sent him a friend request.

***

Cybil checked her inbox.

I won’t contact you again…I just wanted to say “I’m sorry” for all the pain I’ve caused in your life. I’m a Christian now. Pray for me, as I for you. Ryan.


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This article has been read 284 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anne Warden 09/23/11
This is a powerful story. It has me in tears. Hurting people are out there, just moments from God, if we'll only open up with boldness and speak for Him. Thank you for the blessed reminder.
Nancy Bucca 09/23/11
Wow! I hope Cybil responds positively to the message and to Ty. You packed a lot of suspense in this one, and right on topic.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/23/11
I like how you used a modern thing like social networking to tell your story. Remember to write outnumbers less than ten. Your characters were interesting and we all have a past and with Jesus in our life we have a glorious future!
Linda Goergen09/25/11
So well written how you wonderfully wove the characters back and forth, it was so realistic and an enjoyable read! Real life has so many unhappy endings, I am particle to stories with happy endings and this one had the best ending! Cybil and Ryan both saved from sin’s bondage and serving God! And this was perfectly on topic! Great job!
Lisa Kurasz09/27/11
I really enjoyed this story, it came together very nicely.
Jennifer Hill09/28/11
First, I love your title! Second, your story is one of my favorites! I just love the way you shared it. I love the old woman on the bus and how you wrote, "between cantaluop and strawberries" her life was changed, precious! We are talking about being a woman of influence in Bible study and what a great example. I also liked Ryan's description that the streets are the devil. So true. Keep up the writing! Great work, well done!
Jennifer Dawn Suchey 09/28/11
Great story. I like that the dialogue feels real, particularly Ryan's.

Two teensy weensy things. When Ryan emailed Cybil and said he just wanted to say "I'm sorry", it seemed weird that it was in quotes. Maybe that's just me, cause stupid little things stand out to me!

When you include ellipses (...), you are technically supposed to have a space before and after. I have been known to ignore this rule in an effort to keep my word down down, but the judges could decide to mark you down on grammar for it, so keep it in mind. (I am a big fan of the ellipse, so I have checked proper usage!)

I thought it was nifty how you integrated social networking in your story and showed us how two broken lives separated, came to Christ and then back together ... only we are left to guess "how" together, really, which is kind of cool. Nice job!
Jennifer Dawn Suchey 09/29/11
CONGRATS EBONY!!! I knew you'd place high. :) Woo hoo!!!
Sheila Bird 10/20/11
I could think of several people in my life who would be open to the message in this article. I can see this story reaching broken places that are normally very well guarded in hurting people. I read it from start to finish without back tracking which is unusual for me. So I can't think of a single critque at this point other than where is chapter two of the story? Just kidding. I love it.